It was 1983 when Australia reported the first known successful pregnancy using donated eggs. That same year, the United States completed its first successful egg donation transfer in Southern California, resulting in a healthy birth on February 3rd, 1984. Egg donation gradually became a common alternative to sperm donation and other fertility treatments. This breakthrough allowed many women who were unable to conceive because of genetic concerns or fertility problems to become parents. It has also given the LGBT community another way to become biological parents alongside the options of sperm donation and surrogacy. Before methods such as egg donation were possible, same-sex couples, some infertile couples, and singles had adoption as the only option to add a much yearned for child to their lives.
Today, the science involved in egg donation and other fertility treatments has evolved exponentially. New technologies have afforded women who are past their reproductive years the opportunity to become pregnant. There have been tens of thousands of live births from donor eggs since that first one in 1984. There are now laws and statutes governing egg donation; most states follow the Uniform-Parentage Act. This act states that complete parental responsibility of the child conceived via egg donation belongs to the intended parent.
Given the success of egg donation and the favorable guidelines the United States has in place, many people travel here from other countries that prohibit egg donors from being compensated. Fertility medicine in the United States falls under the umbrella term “Assisted Reproductive Technology.” The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the FDA have set guidelines for the procedure to keep it as safe and successful as possible.
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, egg donation has a success rate of almost 60%. This rate varies depending on factors such as the age of the eggs (younger eggs are preferred), the quality of the semen, and the donor’s and recipient’s overall health. More and more people are choosing egg donation to become parents because of its success rates and safety. Also, young women who decide to become egg donors undergo a series of medical, genetic, and psychological screening and most egg donations remain anonymous. However, there is a national egg donor registry where each egg donor has a number which is given to the intended parents. Children born to different families from the same registered donor then have a way to find and meet each other, if they so choose.
In summary, fertility treatments have come a long way over the past few decades, and egg donation has become one of the most popular methods for many couples hopeful of starting a family.